The Pentagon had its fingers crossed this week in hopes that a scheduled test of a ground-based missile interception system didn’t go awry, as has often occurred in the past. During the planned test, an interceptor rocket was to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc against a target missile launched from Alaska’s Kodiak Island. However, military officials stressed that the rocket was meant only to identify the target missile, distinguish between its booster stage and warhead, and communicate with controllers on the ground.

Arlington West organizers warn that without an influx of fresh and reliable volunteers, their Sunday morning installations of commemorative crosses for American troops killed in Iraq could soon end. The increased number of war casualties – there were 2,616 crosses last Sunday – coupled with the deaths of three key volunteers have taken a toll on the somber display, which started at the base of Stearns Wharf three years ago. Organizers say it takes two-and-a-half hours to erect the memorial and about two to take it down.

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